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Telegram messenger CLI Build Status

Command-line interface for Telegram. Uses readline interface.

API, Protocol documentation

Documentation for Telegram API is available here:

Documentation for MTproto protocol is available here:

Upgrading to version 1.0

First of all, the binary is now in ./bin folder and is named telegram-cli. So be careful, not to use old binary.

Second, config folder is now ${HOME}/.telegram-cli

Third, database is not compatible with older versions, so you'll have to login again.

Fourth, in peer_name '#' are substitued to '@'. (Not applied to appending of '#%d' in case of two peers having same name).


Clone GitHub Repository

 git clone --recursive && cd tg

Python Support

Python support is currently limited to Python 2.7 or Python 3.1+. Other versions may work but are not tested.

Linux and BSDs

Install libs: readline, openssl and (if you want to use config) libconfig, liblua, python and libjansson. If you do not want to use them pass options --disable-libconfig, --disable-liblua, --disable-python and --disable-json respectively.

On Ubuntu/Debian use:

 sudo apt-get install libreadline-dev libconfig-dev libssl-dev lua5.2 liblua5.2-dev libevent-dev libjansson-dev libpython-dev make 

On gentoo:

 sudo emerge -av sys-libs/readline dev-libs/libconfig dev-libs/openssl dev-lang/lua dev-libs/libevent dev-libs/jansson dev-lang/python

On Fedora:

 sudo dnf install lua-devel openssl-devel libconfig-devel readline-devel libevent-devel libjansson-devel python-devel

On Archlinux:

 yaourt -S telegram-cli-git

On FreeBSD:

 pkg install libconfig libexecinfo lua52 python

On OpenBSD:

 pkg_add libconfig libexecinfo lua python

On openSUSE:

 sudo zypper in lua-devel libconfig-devel readline-devel libevent-devel libjansson-devel python-devel libopenssl-devel



Other methods to install on linux

On Gentoo: use ebuild provided.

On Arch:

Mac OS X

The client depends on readline library and libconfig, which are not included in OS X by default. You have to install these libraries manually.

If using Homebrew:

 brew install libconfig readline lua python libevent jansson
 export CFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include -I/usr/local/Cellar/readline/6.3.8/include"
 export LDFLAGS="-L/usr/local/lib -L/usr/local/Cellar/readline/6.3.8/lib"
 ./configure && make

Thanks to @jfontan for this solution.

If using MacPorts:

 sudo port install libconfig-hr
 sudo port install readline
 sudo port install lua51
 sudo port install python34
 sudo port install libevent
 export CFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include -I/opt/local/include -I/opt/local/include/lua-5.1"
 export LDFLAGS="-L/usr/local/lib -L/opt/local/lib -L/opt/local/lib/lua-5.1"
 ./configure && make

Install these ports:

  • devel/libconfig
  • devel/libexecinfo
  • lang/lua52

Then build:

 env CC=clang CFLAGS=-I/usr/local/include LDFLAGS=-L/usr/local/lib LUA=/usr/local/bin/lua52 LUA_INCLUDE=-I/usr/local/include/lua52 LUA_LIB=-llua-5.2 ./configure

Other UNIX

If you manage to launch it on other UNIX, please let me know.


If you would like to ask a question, you can write to my telegram or to the github (or both). To contact me via telegram, you should use import_card method with argument 000653bf:0738ca5d:5521fbac:29246815:a27d0cda


bin/telegram-cli -k <public-server-key>

By default, the public key is stored in in the same folder or in /etc/telegram-cli/ If not, specify where to find it:

bin/telegram-cli -k

Client support TAB completion and command history.

Peer refers to the name of the contact or dialog and can be accessed by TAB completion. For user contacts peer name is Name Lastname with all spaces changed to underscores. For chats it is it's title with all spaces changed to underscores For encrypted chats it is <Exсlamation mark> Name Lastname with all spaces changed to underscores.

If two or more peers have same name, number is appended to the name. (for example A_B, A_B#1, A_B#2 and so on)

Supported commands


  • msg <peer> Text - sends message to this peer
  • fwd <user> <msg-seqno> - forward message to user. You can see message numbers starting client with -N
  • chat_with_peer <peer> starts one on one chat session with this peer. /exit or /quit to end this mode.
  • add_contact <phone-number> <first-name> <last-name> - tries to add contact to contact-list by phone
  • rename_contact <user> <first-name> <last-name> - tries to rename contact. If you have another device it will be a fight
  • mark_read <peer> - mark read all received messages with peer
  • delete_msg <msg-seqno> - deletes message (not completly, though)
  • restore_msg <msg-seqno> - restores delete message. Impossible for secret chats. Only possible short time (one hour, I think) after deletion


  • send_photo <peer> <photo-file-name> - sends photo to peer
  • send_video <peer> <video-file-name> - sends video to peer
  • send_text <peer> <text-file-name> - sends text file as plain messages
  • load_photo/load_video/load_video_thumb/load_audio/load_document/load_document_thumb <msg-seqno> - loads photo/video/audio/document to download dir
  • view_photo/view_video/view_video_thumb/view_audio/view_document/view_document_thumb <msg-seqno> - loads photo/video to download dir and starts system default viewer
  • fwd_media <msg-seqno> send media in your message. Use this to prevent sharing info about author of media (though, it is possible to determine user_id from media itself, it is not possible get access_hash of this user)
  • set_profile_photo <photo-file-name> - sets userpic. Photo should be square, or server will cut biggest central square part

Group chat options

  • chat_info <chat> - prints info about chat
  • chat_add_user <chat> <user> - add user to chat
  • chat_del_user <chat> <user> - remove user from chat
  • rename_chat <chat> <new-name>
  • create_group_chat <chat topic> <user1> <user2> <user3> ... - creates a groupchat with users, use chat_add_user to add more users
  • chat_set_photo <chat> <photo-file-name> - sets group chat photo. Same limits as for profile photos.


  • search <peer> pattern - searches pattern in messages with peer
  • global_search pattern - searches pattern in all messages

Secret chat

  • create_secret_chat <user> - creates secret chat with this user
  • visualize_key <secret_chat> - prints visualization of encryption key. You should compare it to your partner's one
  • set_ttl <secret_chat> <ttl> - sets ttl to secret chat. Though client does ignore it, client on other end can make use of it
  • accept_secret_chat <secret_chat> - manually accept secret chat (only useful when starting with -E key)

Stats and various info

  • user_info <user> - prints info about user
  • history <peer> [limit] - prints history (and marks it as read). Default limit = 40
  • dialog_list - prints info about your dialogs
  • contact_list - prints info about users in your contact list
  • suggested_contacts - print info about contacts, you have max common friends
  • stats - just for debugging
  • show_license - prints contents of GPLv2
  • help - prints this help
  • get_self - get our user info


  • export_card - print your 'card' that anyone can later use to import your contact
  • import_card <card> - gets user by card. You can write messages to him after that.


  • quit - quit
  • safe_quit - wait for all queries to end then quit